I’m gearing up for Comic-Con the best I can. I have no badge, but I do have my plane ticket and a place to stay. I’ll fake my way in. Not sure what ‘fake’ my way in means, but it will mostly consist of me mindlessly roaming outside the convention center and careening through bars.
Obsessive fandom is always an interesting world to enter. I won’t say that Comic-Con is the zenith of obsessive fans, but it’s close to owning that position. At the heart of the event Comic-Con is about comic books, but it has spread deep into the mainstream of television and film while holding dearly onto its rebellious sub-culture patina.
I shouldn’t be going. I don’t belong there, really. Most of what’s on display I don’t know. I don’t watch all of the shows and I haven’t seen all of the movies. I haven’t played all of the video games or read all of the books. But I love getting lost in the enthusiasm of the crowd. The excitement of others is contagious and can keep you up, awake and active, way passed any hour a reasonable man should be out at a bar talking over the details of He-Man or the new Smurfs versus the old Smurfs.
I’ll be seeing old friends like Randy of The Arnold Fans and John of Sandwich John Films. I’ll meet new people. I always do. Wander into a party I’m not supposed to be at. Buy a handful of comics from artists I’ve never heard of. This year I hope to meet artist Ben Walker. I don’t imagine this to be a hard goal. He’ll be there. I think. I’ve seen him at Wonder-Con in San Francisco and in San Diego before, but I haven’t actually met him. I bought a few shirts and illustrations from Mr. Walker over the years but that’s it. His work uses a lot of Old West iconography; the rifle, the cowboy, but with whimsy and flair. I dig it. I’d like to tell him “Good job, man” but not in such a plain spoken way. I’m not sure why I want to, or why I bother thinking it over – does me enjoying his work have to be spoken? Can you actually say anything of interest to a complete stranger?
Best I have is, “Your stuff is awesome.” Then I’ll gracefully (awkwardly) smile, extend my hand in half-thought handshake and disappear back into the crowd. A strange little moment of no purpose at all.
I’m not doing that. To anybody. I’m just going to keep my mouth shut and smile, fork over my cash for some goods and move on. Oh, and I might sneak a photo when no one is looking because that’s what I do.
So, Ben Walker, if you tend to Google your name and find this post – I promise to not to say anything weird if I run into you.
Comic-Con is an epic cluster of overwhelming creativity. Be it silly, dark, morbid, cheerful or perverse. Or all of it at the same time. It’s there, along with the folks that made it all happen. All of it. This year I’ll be joining in a little more than I usually do. I didn’t get a badge and I didn’t get in as part of the press, but I’ll be there, outside, with my freshly printed EvilTender.com t-shirt (coming soon!) and a sack of buttons and stickers to give away. Tossing out free schwag with the rest of ‘em.